There is an endless supply of opportunities to buy used cameras on eBay or other sale sites such as Etsy. From the classic 120 and film cameras plate cameras, all between, up to and including the most modern digital models. If you’re interested in film, there are many cameras to pick from. There are Nikon’s Olympus, Canon, Yashica Minolta’s, Rollei’s, and more. They’re all there and others. Are you looking at the Daci Royal? You’re likely to locate one on eBay as I did. What about an Olympus Pen EPL1? Got mine on eBay. A Nikon D90? Yes, it’s on eBay. In addition to being able to locate the camera(s) you’re looking for and need, you will discover every single accessory that is available for the model. It’s incredible what you can discover.
Everybody dreams of having the perfect camera. The Minolta SRT101 is flawless, or perhaps that beautiful brand newly released Olympus OM1. Perhaps you are interested in twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras and searching for the amazing Yashica 635 or Kodak Reflex 1A. In reality, they’re available online on sites like E-bay and Etsy, and many more. There are some gorgeous, brand-new cameras available that I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase, like the Yashica 44A model I have that is in excellent condition. Another camera I own is a stunning Kodak 1A Pocket folder that appears to be brand new and in excellent working order. I also discovered a fantastic Kodak Six-20 Brownie Junior that produces stunning images!. I’ve been lucky and fortunate with my finds—however, not all the time.
A camera purchase, no matter if it’s new or vintage, on eBay, is a risk, and you need to be completely confident in the seller and the way they present the product. There is no option to look over, handle or even test the camera you are interested in. Most sellers such as Cameta Camera, Adorama, KEH Camera, Henry’s of Canada are all reliable and will guarantee their products. It’s rare that you’ll be stuck with a product that isn’t what they expected from any reputable online seller. They will be available to answer your questions both before or after the sale and deal with any problem you may encounter. I’m sure they will!
However, there are some selling cameras online that have no intention of selling cameras that, in most cases, will end up causing you no issues. A lot of these sellers locate their cameras in estate auctions and garage sales. They may also be found at thrift stores or even a flea market. The camera appears nice to the untrained eye, and if it does “click,” it’s presumed that it is working. I’m not sure the number of auction advertisements I’ve seen in which it is stated that “it’s clicker is working” and “I hit the item,” and it does work. I cringe every time I see that! This is the wording of a non-photographer vendor who is selling what they think is an excellent camera. As I said, it is not a deliberate act, and they do not intend to make any falsehood in their selling, as someone who would promote a Minolta SRT 101 from the 1980s. There were no SRT101’s from the ’80s since production ended in 1976. Also, during the ten-year production period that ran from 1966 until 1996, just four models were manufactured. But this seller believes it to be in the time that the item comes from and deliberately puts it in the advertisement, not to trick, but because he doesn’t know. If it’s attractive and the “clicker” is working, it must be working, isn’t it? But not so fast, dear!
I’ve been purchasing used cameras online for quite a while, and I’ve indeed had to deal with what I describe as a bench part camera that is described as functioning and in great condition. On the plus side, I’ve not encountered any issues getting a refund or refund handled… however. However, it is a bit disappointing to wait for an item only to discover that it’s not the way you expected or the opinion of the seller. So, here are a few suggestions for buying a secondhand camera online, specifically from an individual seller.
1. Find out the location of the camera and who owned it.
Was it an estate sale, garage sale, or flea market, are you? I’d like to know who owned the camera and how it was used and used. If I’m not able to agree on that, I’ll generally leave it at that. In the case of an estate auction by an artist or collector, I may look into it. It’s similar to buying a car. Did it belong to the “little old lady” who used to drive it only on Sundays,” or was it an actual flood vehicle made of New Jersey and Hurricane Sandy?
2. Take as many photos on it you can, and be careful when taking close-ups.
They will reveal lots of detail. Look at them more than one time. In most cases, you’ll find details like scratches, breaks, cracks, dirt, rust corrosion, and more when you look at the images repeatedly. After a while, put it on your watchlist and make sure you refer to it frequently. Be sure to look at recesses, corners, creases, knobs, and glass to see if there are any indications of wear or dirt. Find identification marks that have been scratched on the bottom and back of the glass by former owners. I recently saw one with a previous owner’s Social Security number scratched onto the bottom of the plate. There are databases that allow you to look up stolen items, but it could cost you a couple of dollars. Don’t buy anything without looking at the camera. Images that are used by sellers will be passed over by me every time. I won’t even bother as long as they aren’t able to provide me with the product I’m purchasing.
3. Ask questions in depth regarding the camera.
Does the shutter work in a correct manner… in all settings? Is the aperture ring clean? Are the aperture blades clean? No oil on them. What do the lenses appear like when exposed to intense lighting? If you’re interested in cameras, then you know what questions to inquire about and know the right answer. If they aren’t able to respond, then you likely have someone who has no idea what or they are selling. I’m not one to use that “I’m selling it to someone else” routine. As I mentioned, it’s not intended; it’s just uninformed.
4. Request to see any photos taken using that camera.
When I am selling cameras, I will always make sure to include any photos that were taken using the camera. The film is obviously more time-consuming to process and is more expensive, in particular, the older 120 and 620’s, but it’s still accessible. I’m selling an older Falcon Miniature 127 film camera on Etsy, and I’ve attached two images taken using that camera. These will highlight any leaks of light slow shutter speeds, the lens’ distortion, and even fungus or dirt. It also will show that the follower, advance, and follower are working properly. This proves that the camera is actually functioning. I recently came across a Yashica Electro 35 at a flea market, and it was equipped with the original battery. The battery was functional, and the meter was in good working order. I brought it back home, inserted some 35mm film, and away I set. It captured some truly incredible photographs. The seller offered five dollars for the Camera. It cost me $3. It was used for around two months, and I liked it a lot. I posted it up as an auction item on eBay. I provided a full description of how I acquired it and how it worked, as well as two photos I took using the camera. I eventually sold it for $65 and still included the original battery. It was an absolute gem of a find. The buyer is thrilled with it!
Five Compare to, compare, and compare. Sometimes, a seller may not be aware of the true value of the item. Similar to mine, the Yashica Electro 35. occasionally they are sold at a low price, and you can get a great price… Or even junk. I was able to purchase a Pentax K1000 for just $15, and it’s in excellent operating condition. I’m keeping it! Check out a myriad of auctions. Never take any “deal” you come across. I’ve done it before, and it’s come back to hurt me. If I’m on the lookout, I typically have ten or fifteen items on my watchlist. Keep searching and do your own homework. I’ll stay clear of anything marked as clean or lubed and then adjusted (CLA’d), or CLA’d unless it was completed by a reputable firm with who I’m acquainted. For example, if you’re using an older camera and require one of the older mercury 1.35 Volt batteries, make sure that it’s an original battery (Wein the power cells replacement) inside it. Yes, a 1.5 is a good choice. However, the light meter’s performance is not working, and a second issue is that the 1.5 decreases in voltage too fast, which will increase the capacity of the light meter’s function properly. I will never purchase a light meter that is “adjusted” to work with an older 1.5 Volt battery. For me, this is an act of blasphemy against cameras! Replacement power cells for the older 1.35 mercury’s are on the market and are specifically designed to be used with cameras.
6- Last but not least, you must know the camera.
If you are seeking that stunning Rollei and you are looking for the model you are looking for. Are you looking for a Rolleiflex or a Rolleicord or a Rolleicord? Which is the more costly and sought-after among the two? Find out the years it was produced and the year that production stopped, the lens, shutter speed, the aperture setting, and so on. Know every detail you can about the camera. Why? Two reasons. One is that if you plan to use the camera, you’ll know what its capabilities are and what its limitations are. If you’re viewing the camera online and you see that certain components don’t correspond to what you’ve read in the research, It’s possible that it was “refurbed” to suit the needs of someone with no knowledge about the original parts or two models and put together one functioning camera. A $1200 Rolleiflex is a costly paperweight when it’s discovered to not be 100% original.
And one more thing. If you purchase it and the camera arrives, smell the inside! Yes, you should smell it. It smells similar to WD-40. I’ll be negotiating the possibility of a Return… in the near future!
As I’ve mentioned that there are thousands of cameras to pick from online. On eBay, I did a search on 120 film cameras and came up with 1862 options. The first one is a Yashica 635 equipped with a conversion kit. The next one is a Mamiya RZ67 that has a 90mm lens. Both look nice. However, the appearance of a book can be misleading. Do not judge a book solely by its cover. This is the same as purchasing an old camera on the internet.